NBA collaborates with guild to curb building collapse in Lagos

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, is collaborating with the Ikeja Local Government Cell of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) to mitigate building collapses.

The chairman of the NBA, Ikeja branch, Seyi Olawumi, said this at a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos.

Mr Olawumi said that as part of the collaboration, the two bodies would hold an advocacy programme with the theme “Building Collapse and Application of Punitive Laws in Lagos State” on October 25.

He said the advocacy programme was imperative to curb the incessant building collapses pervading Lagos State.

“The frequency of building collapses in Lagos State is deeply troubling, resulting in the loss of lives, property, and economic resources.

“This has left an indelible mark on the community, and it is important that we come together to find solutions and enforce stringent laws that will deter negligent building practices,” he said.

He blamed the building collapse partly on a lack of political will on the part of the government to enforce the laws to serve as a deterrent.

He said the advocacy programme, to be held at the Bar Centre, Ikeja High Court, was a beacon of hope to provide a platform for experts to collectively brainstorm on solutions for safer buildings towards achieving resilient communities.

Mr Olawumi said Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, would deliver a keynote address at the advocacy programme to tame building collapse in the nation.

He said Mr Falana would speak on the theme, “Building Collapse and Application of Punitive Laws in Lagos State.”

The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Oluyinka Olumide, and his Ogun State counterpart, Olatunji Odunlami, are also expected to be guest speakers alongside other experts.

“We are honoured to have Femi Falana, a distinguished human rights activist and senior advocate of Nigeria, as our keynote speaker. His presence and insights will provide a solid foundation for our discussions,” he said.

He said other panellists included the general manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency, Gbolahan Oki; a quantity surveyor, Ayuba Akere and Bamidele Onalaja, a construction expert, among others.

“In a time when the safety of our buildings and the well-being of our people are paramount, we call on all stakeholders, including government representatives, legal practitioners, construction experts, and the general public, to join hands.

“Together, we can make our communities safer, prevent tragic building collapses, and instil confidence in the structures that surround us,” he said.

Zulaiha Bolarinwa, Ikeja Local Government Cell Coordinator, BCPG, said despite several efforts by the Guild, the building collapse had continued to an embarrassing level, hence the need to ensure laws are enforced.

She said the advocacy was targeted at enforcers and other stakeholders to remove the root causes of collapse and impunity.

“The professionals are here and ready to work as a team to make the building collapse a thing of the past,” she said.

Dave Ajetumobi, a former chairman of the NBA, spoke on the lack of political will on the part of the government to enforce available laws, citing the collapse of Synagogue Church and the 21-storey building in Ikoyi as examples.

Mr Ajetumobi lamented a new trend prevalent in Lagos State where people build without plans, car parks, and other requirements for a proper house.

He advised the government to shift focus from revenue generation or currying favours to actual enforcement, irrespective of who is involved, to achieve sanity in the built environment.